Web of Dreams, is the fifth and final book in the Casteel Series by V.C. Andrews. Web of Dreams tells the long awaited tale of Heaven Casteel's mother Leigh VanVoreen and her desire to escape the secrets and lies that lie in Farthinggale Manor.
WITH NOWHERE TO GO, NO ONE TO HELP HER, LEIGH FLED INTO THE ARMS OF LUKE CASTEEL!
Leigh VanVoreen had to escape from Boston's Farthinggale Manor. The foul secret she harbored within her seemed to darken her life forever. Jillian, her mother, would not believe her... and Tony Tatterton, her stepfather had betrayed her most cruelly.
But the pure devotion of Luke Casteel promised her hope and respect. Only Luke knew her deepest of secrets... Only Luke would love and protect her. Bravely she bore the suspicions of the Willies' hillfolk, as she tried to grasp the happiness that had so long eluded her. Leigh prayed with all her heart that her bright, shining dreams would save her from tragedy at last...
The novel opens with Annie Stonewall Casteel returning to Farthinggale Manor for the funeral of her father, Troy Tatterton. Annie, hoping to finally put the past to rest alongside her mother Heaven, feels drawn to the suite that used to be occupied by her great-grandmother. Annie soon discovers a forgotten diary hidden away in a back drawer in Jillian's suite. The diary was written by Leigh VanVoreen, Annie's grandmother and Heaven's mother. Surprised by the discovery, Annie begins to read the tragic story of Leigh.
Twelve-year-old Leigh VanVoreen was the beloved daughter of cruise ship magnate Cleave VanVoreen and his beautiful Boston socialite wife Jillian. Leigh lived out a happy existence until her mother left her father for the much younger man, Tony Tatterton, the handsome and wealthy owner of Tatterton Toys. Shortly after Jillian married Tony, Leigh and her mother moved into Tony's estate, Farthinggale Manor. Leigh's only friend on the estate was Troy Tatterton, the five-year-old brother of Tony, and they spent a lot of time together. Eventually, Leigh was placed in an exclusive private school for girls.
During her summer vacation, Leigh served as the model for what would be a new line of toys for Tatterton Toys: A portrait doll. During the portrait doll modeling sessions, Tony started making advances towards Leigh, much to her confusion, as Jillian had stopped sleeping with him. After the doll was complete, it was presented to Leigh on her birthday. Tony raped Leigh one night while Jillian was away.
After a few weeks, Leigh discovered she was pregnant by Tony, and when she confronted her mother about this fact, Jillian believed that Leigh seduced Tony on purpose and accused her of being a slut. Shocked and infuriated that her own mother did not believe her, Leigh told Jillian that she knew Cleve was not really her father, that Jillian also had premarital sex and that she knew Jillian had, in effect, pimped her out to Tony in order to avoid having sex with him. After the fight, Leigh stole some of Tony's money that he kept in a strongbox and fled Farthinggale Manor with a few meager possessions and her portrait doll.
Leigh had decided to go live with her grandmother Jana in Texas. After leaving Boston, she purchased a train ticket in Atlanta, but missed her connection and was stranded. A stranger named Luke Casteel cheered her up. After he inquired about Leigh's portrait doll, she admitted that it was indeed modeled after her, and that she had named it Angel. Luke told her that 'Angel' was a better name for her than Leigh. He then proceeds to refer to Leigh as Angel after that. Leigh confided in him about the circumstances of her pregnancy and he drove her to a motel so she could rest. He then returned with some food for her and watched with concern, as though he were the expectant father. Leigh asked him to stay as she didn't want to be on her own and he agreed. When she woke up in the middle of the night, Luke was instantly at her side, reassuring her that he'd always protect her. He then told her that he has fallen in love with her and wanted to be the father of her baby. Assuming she dreamt this, Leigh went back to sleep. After waking up in Luke's arms, she asked him about it. He passionately talked about his plans for the future if the two of them were together and Leigh fell more and more in love with him.
Although they had only known each other for one day, they got married and returned to Luke's West Virginia mountain home, where her young age was not so unusual. After meeting Luke's mother, Annie, and Luke's father, Toby, Leigh worked hard around the shack and ignored the stares of the local townsfolk. For his part, Luke was madly in love with her and had plans to build a house in town just for her and the baby. Whenever Luke would drink, Leigh would fear for his health and tell him off, which he liked because she put him straight. He promised to make her happy because she was the love of his life.
Leigh's diary ends when she starts experiencing labor pains while out for a walk with Luke. She writes about how they went up to the hills and how Luke talked about their plans for the future. He told her that she was his one and only and that no man could ever love any woman more than he loved her. She responded by kissing him and asking him to go back to the cabin with her so he could hold her. As they walk back, Leigh records that she stopped and stared at the stars, telling Luke that when she goes to sleep tonight she wanted to feel like she's going to sleep in heaven. These are the last words in the journal, sadly ironic because the reader knows that Leigh does go to sleep 'in heaven', due to her death in childbirth, and that it is this death which turns Luke into the heartless man he is in Heaven.
In the present, Annie finds a note from a private investigator Tony hired, stating that Leigh died in childbirth due to inadequate medical care. The note also states that the child survived and that it was a girl. The implication is that both Tony and Jillian knew about Heaven long before she came to Farthinggale, but preferred to leave her to be brought up as a hillbilly rather than face what they had done to Leigh. Saddened by what she has read, Annie puts the journal back in the drawer as she hears Luke calling her name. She goes to him and they leave Farthinggale to its ghosts.
1.) Leigh's Book of Memories
2.) An Enchanted Kingdom
3.) A Very, Private Place
4.) Rough Seas
5.) Almost an Orphan
6.) A New Best Friend
8.) Lies, Lies, Lies
9.) Here Comes the Bride
10.) The Honeymoon's Over
12.) More Surprises
13.) Me...a Model?
14.) Daddy's Return
16.) At the Cottage
17.) Hard Lessons
19.) A Visit to a Circus
20.) Someone to Watch over Me
21.) The Willies